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End of season review: Tim Gleason


End of season review: Tim Gleason

Throughout the coming weeks, Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2014-15 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Tim Gleason

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Age: 32 [turns 33 Jan. 29]

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 217

Games: 72


Assists: 8

Points: 9

Penalty minutes: 55

Plus-Minus: Minus-13

Average Ice Time: 16:19

Playoff games: 14

Goals: 0

Assists: 1

Points: 1

Penalty minutes: 5

Plus-Minus: Minus-3

Average Ice Time: 13:08

Contract Status: UFA [2014-15 salary: $1.2 million]

Strengths: When the Caps acquired Gleason in exchange for pending UFA defenseman Jack Hillen and a fourth-round draft pick, they hoped they’d be getting a hard-nosed, shot-blocking  veteran who could dissuade opponents from taking runs at defense partner Mike Green. He delivered. In 17 regular season games for the Caps, Gleason had no goals, two assists and was a plus-5 while averaging 15:16 of ice time. He delivered 34 hits and blocked 20 shots in those 17 games and was a quiet leader on the ice for a team that needed a steady hand on the blue line.

Room for improvement: Gleason let Green do much of the puck carrying during his brief stay with the Caps but possesses a heavy shot that could have been utilized more than it was [10 in the regular season for the Caps and seven in the playoffs]. A veteran of 727 NHL games, Gleason’s lack of speed and quickness was exposed occasionally in the defensive zone, but his defensive positioning made up for his deficiencies.

Memorable Moment: There were two and both involved fights with Rangers tough guy Tanner Glass. The first came on April 11 when he and Glass bloodied each other in the final regular season game between the Caps and Rangers. The second came in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 6 when Glass caught Gleason with a hard right that bloodied Gleason’s left eye and left him with a shiner.

Quotable: After Glass gloated about his win over Gleason in Game 4 and called him a jerk, Gleason took the high road when asked to respond, saying:“I’m not going to stand here and say I won the fight. I don’t really care about if I did or didn’t. I’m not buying into it. …I could care less, really. You’re asking a guy that, I’ve been beaten up 100,000 times and I’ve won 100,000 times, so I could care less.”

2015-16 Expectations: If Mike Green goes to unrestricted free agency the Caps might consider re-signing Gleason and carrying him as a sixth or seventh defenseman next season, an insurance policy for Dmitry Orlov, who missed the entire 2014-15 NHL season with a wrist injury. Gleason said he would consider re-signing with the Caps but he likely can get a more lucrative two-year deal from another NHL team on or after July 1.

 [MORE CAPS: Fehr undergoes another surgery]

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals


John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

On Friday, the Capitals shipped out Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to clear space on the salary cap for John Carlson's massive contract extension.

On Sunday night, Carlson signed on the dotted the line. 

The 28-year-old became the latest core Cap to sign a long-term deal, inking an eight-year extension that will carry an $8 million average salary. 

His cap hit is now the second highest on the team—behind Ovechkin’s $9.538 million charge and just ahead of Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million hit.

With Carlson locked up, the defending Stanley Cup champion now has the majority of its core signed through at least the 2019-20 season. Among the players with at least two years remaining on their deals are forwards Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nickas Backstrom and Lars Eller, defensemen Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Carlson news did not come as a surprise.

The Caps wanted to keep him. Carlson, who makes his offseason home in Washington, wanted to stay with the club that drafted him 27th overall in 2008. And on Friday night in Dallas, GM Brian MacLellan all but guaranteed that a deal was going to happen when he said, “We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

It ended up taking a little more than 24 hours, but in the end MacLellan got his D-man.

“John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL,” said MacLellan in a statement on Sunday. “Defenseman like John are a rare commodity in our League and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime.”

Indeed, Carlson notched a career-high 15 goals and 53 assists last season, and his 68 points led all NHL defensemen. He also became the eighth defensemen in Caps’ history to record 60 points in a season and the first since Mike Green accomplished the feat in 2009-10. Meanwhile, Carlson’s average ice time (24:47) also marked a career high.

“As a right-handed defenseman, John plays in all key situations and has contributed greatly to our team’s success on the special teams,” MacLellan added. “We are pleased for both parties to have come to an agreement and for him to continue his great career as a Washington Capital.”

With Carlson under contract, the Caps now have a little more than $13 million in cap space underneath the $79.5 million ceiling, according to Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson and Jakub Jerabek are all unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

Carlson’s also signing kicks off a big week for MacLellan.

In addition to negotiating with the free agents he hopes to retain, he’s expected to have a formal interview with associate coach Todd Reirden, who is the leading candidate to replace Barry Trotz as head coach.

So buckle up, there figure to be a few more important announcements in the coming days.


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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson


Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.